Samaritan House, Barrie, ON

The Kennedy Family’s Story by Kerry Ploughman, Executive Director

Samaritan House is dedicated to helping women and children stabilize their lives after experiencing abusive situations. Unlike a shelter, we provide longer term, move in ready housing with program work and supports to help families recover from their trauma and learn how to recognize and avoid these types of situations in the future. We also work on safety plans, goal setting, planning, life skills, job search and prep., and/or further education. All of this is unique to each clients needs and long-term goals. Once they are ready to leave our housing, which is usually 9 – 18 months later, we work to secure permanent housing for them and their family. None of this can be done without the generous donations that help us run our housing and programs. 

I have included a letter from a client who recently moved from our housing into permanent housing. This client stayed approx. 3 years as it was extended due to covid. Here is the letter we received from her.

“I have had the privilege of being a resident in one of the Samaritan House transitional homes. They were able to provide myself and three children fully furnished accommodations. I was out of the woman’s shelter having stayed my allotted time there due to a very unsafe living situation and toxic relationship. It was an amazing! They had all the basic set up that anyone would need to get by when having to restart with nothing. It provided a huge relief of the burden that was ahead when it seemed like I was going to be homeless and lose my children. I will never be able to repay the kindness and understanding of my situation that they offered as well as extra supports. They assisted with Christmas and groceries as needed. Throughout the pandemic I was provided cleaning supplies. My children and I cannot thank you guys enough for all the support and help you have provided to our family while we awaited our long-term housing.
Thank-you from the bottom of my heart. God Bless all those who have helped support this amazing program.

Sincerely the Kennedy family ❤️

It is always wonderful to see family move on with the tools they need to go forward. These types of letters would not be possible without the support given to Samaritan House. We cannot thank Faithworks enough for the continued support of Samaritan House over the years. Our agency is not large, our numbers are not large, however the work we do ensures permanent stability once our client leave our program. Our clients do not recycle through the system. They leave to jobs, further education, permanent housing, with the knowledge of how to live in a healthy relationship and the skillsets to live self-sufficiently.

Thank you Faithworks for your part in our clients’ lives.

Bob’s Story

This article from our ministry partner, the Orillia Christian Centre ‘The Lighthouse’, is an example of the work that your donation to FaithWorks supports.

Picture: L-R Peter Mentis, Bob Nash, Lynn Thomas in the new kitchen

Bob’s Story – by Lynn Thomas, Development and Communications Manager

Bob has been a wonderful asset to our team.

Bob Nash is a cook by trade and in heart.  When the pandemic hit, he lost his job at Casino Rama as the hospitality industry closed down everywhere. He decided to seek work in trades and began to work as a painter. Bob worked with the crew who were contracted to paint the new Lighthouse Community Services facility in Orillia.

While painting the building, Bob observed the beautiful commercial kitchen being constructed. He said to himself, “I would LOVE to work in a kitchen like that!”  He asked the project manager who he should talk to about applying for a job.  Bob applied and was hired by ‘The Lighthouse’ once the new facility opened in July 2021. 

Bob’s salary is being supplemented with funding from FaithWorks. He is thankful to work for an organization that feeds vulnerable, homeless and food insecure people in Orillia.

‘The Lighthouse’ has faced an increased need and demand for meals in the community as it is the only daily community meal program in Orillia.  ‘The Lighthouse’ distributed over 54,000 meals to the community in 2021 through feeding the shelter participants, assisting families in need and distributing bagged lunches outdoors as the regional health unit would not allow indoor dining with the exception of our shelter participants.

Evon and the Class of 2025

Evon had big dreams for grade 7. Finally getting to middle school where you can play sports. Unfortunately, Evon started grade 7 the fall of 2019 when strike action halted all extra curricular activities. Normally, just a blip in a school career, the strike ended just in time for the pandemic to begin. Eighteen months of virtual or limited in-person classes and definitely no sports.

Evon enters grade 9; an adventure – new school, new opportunities for friends, and a bit of fear for being in a large school as the youngest. Academic pressures are real. Students do better academically when they are involved in activities outside of the classroom. The 18 months of the pandemic were a more significant percentage of life for a young person than for an adult. While the pandemic has affected everyone, there is a great question of how it will impact young people like Evon for years to come. The Class of 2025 really missed out on middle school.

Connecting with grade 9s like Evon is a strategic part of outreach each year at The Dam. If the drop-in can become a known, safe space at the start of their high school journey, it will be a place to turn to in the good days and the bad ones.

Evon “Did I tell you my 21-year old (HIV) client died of cancer?

The following article from the Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care is an example of the work that your donation to FaithWorks supports.

A Report from Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care highlighting Lena Soje, HIV Program Manager

Our HIV program manager observes: “Everyone assumes that people with HIV/AIDS are fine because they have access to antiviral medication, but that’s not the case for everyone.… Did I tell you my 21-year old client died of cancer?”

In this case, the HIV diagnostician at the hospital initially mistook new symptoms for COVID. Four days after cancer was identified, the young man died…. While COVID dominates attention and HIV makes patients medically vulnerable, working on the frontlines as a social worker, case manager, counsellor and patient advocate can be heartbreaking and faith-stretching: “You ask and pray, can this be avoided? Could the cancer have been found sooner and treated? Could we do more to help people live with HIV/AIDS?”

Our program manager also observes new levels of client anxiety, fear, and depression. Clients who experienced depression before, now have “extreme depression” since COVID isolation, and are requesting additional one-on-one counselling supports. Some clients have lost their jobs due to COVID. Others have refused to work or felt unsafe working due to COVID. It adds a complicating strain – for clients living with HIV, and for frontline workers providing hospice supports.

With the stress of COVID, one client’s HIV/AIDS symptom management is worse than ever: she has been hospitalized more during this past year, than years ago when her HIV complications led to organ failure, requiring invasive medical treatments and a transplant. Last year, after her child brought the COVID virus home from school, this mom was infected and thankfully survived. Today, still unable to work, she and her palliative husband are doing their best to raise children. She testifies: “The PAC women’s group is the only thing that keeps me going. This group and my faith. The support and prayers I receive from others who know what I am going through, what I am feeling, my fear … knowing I can share everything, and not be judged … that there are people who I can call on to pray with me.”

Our program manager aims to meet each person’s unique needs by using a combination of tools: cognitive behavioural therapy, narrative therapy, facilitated relationship mediation, group or individual counselling, referrals for medical respite, plus a faith-based perspective depending on the client. The Christ-centred, faith-building elements are invaluable for many clients: “They can’t pray in other HIV support groups. They can’t pray about HIV within their church circles for fear of stigma / judgement.”

Looking forward, our frontline leader speaks life and affirmation, with an abundance of faith that outreach, education, advocacy, and hospice care supports will continue to meet this group and others at their place of need.

We all appreciate the generous resources and prayers through FaithWorks.

God bless you for your support.

FaithLines – Past Newsletters

2023 Jan 18 – Generosity is the best way of becoming more, more and more joyful – Philip Aziz Centre

2022 Dec 28 – Last chance to help in 2022.

2022 Dec 21 – A season for giving. $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant met.

2022 Dec 14 – Tragic fire at All Saints CCC – The Dam has record youth participation.

2022 Dec 7 – 35% increase in need. 80% of Matching Challenge Grant attained.

2022 Nov 29 – Giving Tuesday. 35% inflation hits FaithWorks

2022 Nov 23 – 60% of $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant attained, Year-end countdown

2022 Nov 16 – FaithWorks Sunday – A visit to One City Peterborough

2022 Nov 2 – A Prayer for FaithWorks Sunday, $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant

2022 Oct 19 – FaithWorks Sunday, $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant

2022 Oct 11 – Bishop’s Company Cabaret

2022 Oct 5 – Happy Thanksgiving, A Place Called Home

2022 Sept 28 – Why FaithWorks – Benefits for Parishes, St. Christopher’s and All Saints’, Markham hold ping pong tournaments

2022 Sept 21 – Why FaithWorks – Benefits for Donors, $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant

2022 Sept 7 – Why FaithWorks – Benefits for Ministry Partners, Update from One Roof Community Centre

2022 July 20 – Ukraine relief update from PWRDF – continued

2022 July 6 – Ukraine relief update from PWRDF

2022 June 22 – Toronto Urban Native Ministry: pt. 2

2022 June 15 – Toronto Urban Native Ministry: pt. 1

2022 June 9 – Thanks from Migrant Workers Ministry

2022 May 25 – Bob’s story at Orillia Christian Centre ‘The Lighthouse’

2022 May 11 – May 15 is Refugee Sunday

2022 Apr 27 – Support the Spirit Garden

2022 Apr 20 – Life is Resilient!

2022 Apr 13 – When tears are not enough

2022 Apr 6 – The Gates of Jerusalem

2022 Mar 30 – faithworks.ca – Your resource centre for FaithWorks

2022 Mar 23 – Welcome A Place Called Home

2022 Mar 16 – Welcome Migrant Workers Ministry

2022 Mar 9 – The Dam: Evon and the class of 2025

2022 Mar 2 – Lent – Parish campaign begins – Help in Ukraine

2022 Feb 15 – Thank you Corporate & Foundation Donors

2022 Feb 2 – 2021 Campaign Results – “Amazing”

2022 Jan 19 – Generosity and Abundance call us …

2021 December 29 – Last Chance in 2021

2021 December 22 – Merry Christmas

2021 December 15 – $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant Attained

2021 December 8 – $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant Update

2021 November 30 – Couchiching Jubilee House – Zoie

2021 November 17 – FaithWorks in Haiti with PWRDF

2021 November 10 – St. Christopher’s Ping Pong Relay

2021 October 27 – “Did I tell you my 21-year old (HIV) client died of cancer?”

2021 October 6 – $100,000 Matching Challenge Grant

2021 September 22 – 100 + 1% Challenge

2021 September 8 – New Videos

2021 June 30 – Flemingdon Park Ministry

2021 June 16 – It was a great party!

2021 May 26 – Invitation, Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care

2021 May 19 – Invitation, Congratulations from PWRDF

2021 May 12 – Invitation, Looking back

2021 May 4 – Invitation

2021 April 28 – Invitation, Congratulations from The Dam

2021 April 14 – Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

2021 March 31 – Psalm 31, Marvin’s Story

2021 March 17 – Corporate and Foundation Donors

2021 March 10 – Matching Challenge Grant

2021 March 3 – FaithWorks mission, 2021 theme

2021 February 24 – 100 + 1% Challenge

2021 February 17 – Ash Wednesday

2021 February 3 – Looking Forward, Looking Back

2021 January 20 – 2020 goal surpassed

2021 January 6 – Epiphany

December 30, 2020

December 22, 2020

December 15, 2020

December 8, 2020

December 1, 2020

November 18, 2020

November 4, 2020

October 21, 2020

October 7, 2020

September 23, 2020

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July 29, 2020

July 15, 2020

June 29, 2020

June 17, 2020

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April 22, 2020